The Coastal Post - May, 1997

News & Notes Of Novato

BY BETTY MACHADO

Hello, Dear Hearts

May flowers can't outdo the April flowers we have enjoyed this year! The California poppies have been beautiful. The Novato Garden Club has done a remarkable job of planting and caring for the raised flower boxes at the corners of Redwood Blvd.

Special Mother's Day matinee, May 11

The Novato Community Players presents Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, a fairy tale musical for everyone, at 2:00 p.m. in the Novato Community House, Machin and DeLong. Director: Sean Bernardi; Musical Director: David Shepard. Cost: General, $14; Seniors and Students, $12. Tickets: 898-6181. Complimentary champagne to Mom escorted by her child. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, April 15: City Council workshop with Parks and Recreation

Before starting the two public hearings, the Council has workshops for the public to have time to express their desires concerning the spending of tax money for the yearly budget. Would you believe how many attended this workshop? Two citizens. Seems the city staff failed to announce the event.

I heard about it from a friend who happened to turn on Channel 23 and heard my name during a discussion by the chair of Parks and Rec, Brad Beetle. I immediately drove down to the City Council meeting. City Council candidate Jim Henderson was the only public member.

The meeting had quite an array of subjects on the agenda. From A to G the subjects included: Does the Council like the recommendations, and did they feel the Parks and Recreation Commission was giving enough information to the Council? How do we deal with legal issues/minority protest more effectively? Is there more we can do about teen concerns? What is the Commission's role in the O'Hair Park development project, and promoting commercial recreation opportunities in Novato, including water slides, skating, golf, etc.? (Notice no mention of a private skateboard park.) Are downtown recreation improvements still the priority, and should the Commission be working toward that end?

I spoke under General Discussion Items. I was unhappy over the lack of communication between the Council and the public regarding the workshop. Asked about Prop. 218 regarding the vote for recreational improvements. City Manager Rod Wood gave a long list of proposition numbers starting with Prop. 13, and he didn't want to discuss 218!

The Commission didn't have too much to say during the meeting. Commissioner Nancy Sangster did go into great detail over how great the staff is to work with. Too bad the public interested in using baseball fields didn't come. The Rip Tide swim team group should have come. Indian Valley College pool is in financial trouble. Not discussed at the workshop yet; a member of the community called me about the situation. In my presentation that night, I did offer the Master Plan for IVC, which lists the building of a new gym near the lighted sports fields which are now, after seven years of being in court, ready to start. Scott Miller sent me the Master Plan, so I know it is up to date. I will be giving the copy to staff. We could use the new gym at IVC. No comment from Council or Parks and Rec Commission.

Partridge Knolls

This issue to date should not have press coverage due to the mediator's request at the last public hearing held in the Hill School gym. John Griffiths is an experienced Palo Alto mediator who has consented to help resolve the problems affecting 16 homes. The players involved are Partridge Knolls Homeowners, the City of Novato and Buck Center representatives. All agreed except Mary McEachron, former Executive Director and lawyer. On April 13, she decided to write about Susan Ristow and Shirley Graves concerning their opposition to the Buck Center. In her article, after attacking Susan and Shirley on a personality level, she writes, "...if this community effort is to succeed, we need the support of our community newspapers."

Two people who never show up in the discussion of the Buck Center are Dietrich Stroeh and Nancy Sangster. Remember, they were the masterminds behind the "Right Here, Right Now" vote on the Buck Center last November. When Novato voted on that ballot, they voted in annexation to Novato of the Buck Center. That is why the county is not involved now. The City has become the lead agency.

Somewhere along the line, the people who voted for the Buck Center project and the Partridge Knolls project have to be accountable. What happened to the Omission and Errors insurance planning commissioners and elected officials carry? Going to be interesting.

Marin County Fair train special event

The Novato City Council has received a request from Stroeh, Secretary, Marin County Fair Train Ad Hoc Committee, to support a special event train planned to operate during the fair. The City of Novato is being asked to contribute $2,500. Will give you the next chapter...

Good luck and good-bye to John Spitz

John has been along-time manager for Mike's liquor store. Before Ben Upham sold the store to Greg and Kathy Hansen, John taught foreign languages in two Marin County high schools. He never married. He loves the wilderness, from mountain climbing to canoeing on the lakes and rivers of Western America. He loves traveling around the world. Right now, he is traveling in Tahiti and Mexico with his nephew from France. He has been across the continent four times. At the end of this year, he plans to go southern France, where he wants to settle down near the Pyrenees and finish his book. Have a good time, John.

I walk by night items

On Valentine's Day, Councilwoman Cynthia Murray became engaged. Rowland Park and Ride Lot should be named after former mayor Harley McAskill, now residing in Sun City, Arizona. This was his idea 20 years ago!

The City of Novato received the deed to the Novato Community Hospital. It was listed on the April 8 City Council agenda. Now that the City has the deed, can we seek an alternative to giving Sutter our hospital? Dr. Weisman donated the seven acres up at 1625 Hill Road for our hospital. Shouldn't we honor Dr. Weisman's gift by keeping the hospital there? Go to the ballot in November and create a hospital district? This is tentatively the subject for the public advocate program on May 15, 9:00 p.m., Channel 23. Hope you tune in.

Good-bye to Al Lerch

He died in San Francisco and was buried in his home town of Oakdale.